Wednesday, October 10, 2018

2018 Successes

These pop out as obvious successes of this year's gardening to me. There were some failures, such as not digging beds earlier in the season and then trying to plant in places where the soil had not been prepared well enough. I will not order plants from a mail-order nursery next year, as many of these did not work out well. They arrived too early and had to sit and wait until the weather warmed up. Plus I ordered way too many and had no place to plant them. I hadn't made a plan and suddenly I had about 40 bare-root perennials needing to be planted and I just wasn't ready. Also bare-root plants take a while to get going and I got much more satisfaction out of plants that I bought that were already a year old. So when they were planted, there was something to see right away.

The picture above is an annual Black Eye Susan vine that I started from seed. I had two pots of these and this one did particularly well. It just kept growing and growing, climbing up onto the canopy frame, producing lovely little yellow flowers with those black eye centres. This will be repeated next year for sure. Even my husband asked if this would survive the winter as he liked it too.

 This photo below is a new bed that I dug in the past couple of weeks. Learning from my experience of ordering plants for which there was no bed prepared, this one has been dug in expectation of next spring. I have some bulbs coming from the grandchildren's school fund raiser and this bed will get planted with crocus, daffodils and tulips. The fence not only keeps the dog in, but it keeps the deer out so I can now grow tulips.

This weigela, Bristol Ruby, was bought at the local grocery store. They get their plants from Temperate Gardens in Eganville and I have had success with all of their plants. This lovely weigela has even put on some blossoms in October. It has doubled in size since I planted it, it has survived Tekla's running into this corner to chase cats and squirrels and I gave it an extra layer of mulch to protect it from the coming cold weather. I first encountered weigelas in Nova Scotia where they grow so well in the salty sea air. I tried unsuccesfully to grow them twice in my Nova Scotia garden but they couldn't get going in the poor soil of a maple rich yard.

This trumpet vine is listed as "aggressive", but I figure the yard here is big enough to handle aggressive plants. And this one is climbing up the metal frame that is wedged next to the shed. I hope that it will keep going and clamber up and over this ugly shed.

A random picture of fall mums on the front porch. I would dearly love to have some hardy mums but none that I have planted have survived the winter. There is a house on the next street that has two varieties of garden mums, and I think I will ask the owner if she would give me a sprout to plant in my yard. They look different from these mums, they grow longer and lankier with less blooms, but the flowers are so lovely. They resemble painted daisies more than mums, and they could easily be mistaken for asters.

This lamium has done really well. My sister advised me to dig it up as it will take over and crowd out other plants, but I think I can just cut it back. My sister-in-law said to just treat it as any ground cover and cut it back where you don't want it.

I love love Lady's Mantle. It is probably the one plant that I love for its foliage and not its flowers. And as everyone remarks, the way it holds water drops on the leaves is so pleasing to the eye. I will be adding this to every sunny bed in the garden.

An aster planted last year that is putting on a great show this year. Why didn't I buy more of these?

Bobo hydrangea, the shining star of this year's hydrangeas. I love this little guy.

Another purchase from Temperate Gardens, this is a hydrangea Jack Cataraqui. So many blossoms, it must be happy in this spot. I will mulch it well for the coming winter.

I wish I had done more but there is only so much time and more importantly, only so much energy. I plan on digging out a few more small beds so that they will be ready for planting next spring. One bed will be strictly for dahlias. They put on such a flower show that they deserve their own place, not just to be stuck in the ground as I did this year.

It is tiring work, this gardening. I can see why northern gardeners are glad of the rest that winter gives. And the cold months of January and February can be cheered up with garden catalogs and gardening books to get one excited again for another season of growing.